The race to Super Bowl LIV is on, or at least it will be once the 2019-20 NFL playoffs kick off Wild Card Weekend at 4:35 p.m. ET on Saturday.
The winners of this weekend's four collisions will survive and advance to travel and face one of the fortunate four teams to earn a bye this round. The top two seeds in each conference—respectively, the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, and the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers in the NFC—will each host one of next week's Division Round matchups.
For football fanatics, this is as good as it gets. It's the best players on the best teams battling it out for the sport's best prize.
All you need to do is get the popcorn popping, reserve the comfiest seat on your couch and enjoy the action. All we need to do is lay out the full playoff bracket viewing guide and then dive into the Wild Card Weekend contests with the latest lines from Caesars Sportsbook and our predictions on what's ahead.
NFL Playoff Bracket 2020
Wild Card Round
Saturday, Jan. 4
No. 5 Buffalo Bills at No. 4 Houston Texans, 4:35 p.m. ET (ESPN/ABC, Live Stream: WatchESPN)
No. 6 Tennessee Titans at No. 3 New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS, Live Stream: CBS All Access)
Saturday, Jan. 5
No. 6 Minnesota Vikings at No. 3 New Orleans Saints, 1:05 p.m. ET (Fox, Live Stream: Fox Sports Go)
No. 5 Seattle Seahawks at No. 4 Philadelphia Eagles, 4:40 p.m. ET (NBC, Live Stream: NBC Sports App)
Saturday, Jan. 11
TBD at No. 1 San Francisco 49ers, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC, Live Stream: NBC Sports App)
TBD at No. 1 Baltimore Ravens, 8:15 p.m. ET (CBS, Live Stream: CBS All Access)
Sunday, Jan. 12
TBD at No. 2 Kansas City Chiefs, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS, Live Stream: CBS All Access)
TBD at No. 2 Packers, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox, Live Stream: Fox Sports Go)
Sunday, Jan. 19
AFC Championship, 3:05 p.m. ET (CBS, Live Stream: CBS All Access)
NFC Championship, 6:40 p.m. ET (Fox, Live Stream: Fox Sports Go)
Super Bowl LIV
Sunday, Feb. 2
Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, 6:30 p.m. ET (Fox, Live Stream: Fox Sports Go)
Wild-Card Odds, Predictions
Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans (-2.5) | O/U 43.5
While neither of these teams is synonymous with playoff success, that could be changing as their respective young quarterbacks continue to blossom. Deshaun Watson just matched his career high with 26 touchdown passes while adding a personal-best seven rushing scores. Josh Allen showed a wealth of improvement as a sophomore, upping his completion percentage and touchdown passes while trimming his interceptions.
The Bills are better defensively, but the Texans are more dynamic on offense. That potentially gives this game a strength-vs.-strength setup, which often creates an instant-classic type of performance.
This seems destined to come down to the wire, and if that's the case, our crystal ball finds it easier to trust Watson than Allen to make plays when they matter most.
Prediction: Texans 28, Bills 23
Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots (-5.5) | O/U 45.0
The Titans give off a team-of-destiny vibe. They saved their season upon promoting Ryan Tannehill over Marcus Mariota. They employed the league's rushing champ in Derrick Henry. They saw rookie receiver A.J. Brown burst onto the scene with 1,051 receiving yards and eight touchdown catches, both of which led or tied for the top mark in the freshman class.
Inconsistency among Brady's targets not named Julian Edelman likely spells this squad's demise at some point, but the veteran quarterback has enough to survive this round.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Titans 17
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints (-7.5) | O/U 49.5
While the same teams are involved, don't expect another Minneapolis Miracle. Plenty has changed since that classic, including the setting—the Saints are a handful anywhere, but Drew Brees and Sean Payton are almost unbeatable at the Superdome.
Further upping Minnesota's degree of difficulty is the fact that it will be without cornerbacks Mike Hughes (neck) and Mackensie Alexander (knee). Full-strength defenses have a hard enough time handling Michael Thomas, the season leader in receptions (NFL record 149) and receiving yards (1,725); a short-handed secondary may not stand a chance.
The Vikings can't expect Kirk Cousins to trade blows with Brees, so they'll be hoping the return of Dalvin Cook makes a huge difference. It will matter, but the impact is muted a bit by a Saints defense allowing the fourth-fewest rushing yards per game. As the round's highest spread indicates, New Orleans is the strongest favorite of the lot.
Prediction: Saints 30, Vikings 20
Seattle Seahawks (-1.5) at Philadelphia Eagles | O/U 45.5
The Eagles are missing essentially every receiver you've heard of, and tight end Zach Ertz is questionable with injuries to his ribs and back. The Seahawks are down their top two rushers in Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, which could leave them heavily reliant on Marshawn Lynch, who recently came out retirement for a second time after a 14-month layoff.
So, this might be the war of the walking woundeds, which would make it even less predictable than the normal playoff game already is.
But the Seahawks seem the less wounded of the two. Russell Wilson still has electric playmakers to throw to in Tyler Lockett and rookie DK Metcalf, plus this offense could get unexpected mileage out of its two-headed monster at running back in Lynch and Travis Homer. Maybe Carson Wentz works enough miracles to make this interesting, but it's tough to develop a rhythm with so many new faces in the receiving corps.
While Philly will surely have a raucous home crowd behind it, Seattle has Wilson and Pete Carroll, which feels a bit more meaningful of an advantage at this time of year.
Prediction: Seahawks 31, Eagles 23